No, this is not about Paris. I was floating in memories letting them carry me away. Doing some resetting too.
The first symphonic work by G. Fauré (1845-1924), the great master of french song, had its première in 1881. It was composed earlier when the composer broke his affair with Marianne Viardot (yes, Pauline´s daughter). When Liszt played the work in a friendly meeting with Fauré, arranged by Saint Saens in Weimar in 1877, he said ´´this is too difficult“, leaving the scholars ever since aghast. Some of them claim that Liszt had troubles of vision at that time.
Vasso Devetzi, greek pianist, Thessaloniki, September the 9th, 1927- Paris, November the 1st, 1987. An ambitious artist who defined herself in her cv through her friendships. So, friend of the composer Mikis Theodorakis and late friend of Maria Callas. In the 50´s she moved to Paris. She became friend with Marguerite Long, Henri Sauguet, René Dumesnil, Bernard Gavoty, Claude Rostand, Jacques Fevrier, Jean Roire. . . It is said that M. Long gave the score of this ballade to Devetzi. In the 1960’s and 1970’s she lived long periods in Soviet Union. Soprano Galina Vishnevskaja and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich were her good friends, and she often accompanied them. During her last years she was the president of the Maria Callas Foundation, which provided international scholarships for young singers. She organized the ceremony of spreading Callas´s ashes in the Aegean sea. Greek people, regretfully, rarely talk about Devetzi.
The ballade was recorded in 1963 in Salle Wagram in Paris. An excellent result in my opinion. Serge Baudo conducts Devetzi and the Orchestre de la Socièté des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris, long and dull name for the ancestor of the Orchestre de Paris. Chant du Monde, France.